Picnic Inspiration

I recently wrote an article about picnicking for OneMagazine Devon (you can read it on my blog later this month). I do love a picnic and so do the kids. There is nothing better than heading to the beach after school pick up and taking dinner with us.

Here I have compiled my list of perfectly portable foods and recipes for you to enjoy this summer.

Finger foods:

  • Savoury muffins - see my muffin recipe here

  • Quiche - if you aren’t happy making pastry or don’t have time, you can buy the cases in the supermarket and fill them with whatever pleases you OR of course there are many pre-made ones to choose from. This is a good recipe to start with (as I say you can just use it for the filling part if you like!).

  • Frittata - you can buy these in the supermarket too or make one like this

  • Scotch eggs - for the ultimate scotch egg try making them (this does take a bit of time though and make sure not to boil your eggs for too long!). Here is a recipe.

  • Sausage rolls - for a twist try this cheese version OR try making your own with vegetarian sausages. No need to make pastry for these, just use shop bought puff pastry.

  • Pinwheels - lots of ideas here

  • Dips and vegetable crudités - check out chef Alec Bourne’s Exeter Food Festival recipes for 3 delicious dips.

  • Antipasti such as olives, sundried tomatoes, fresh anchovies, stuffed bell peppers, cheeses, salami, prosciutto, artichokes, pickles

Salads:

Salad needn’t mean lettuce, cucumber and tomatoes.  Many vegetables can be eaten cold and when dressed well can provide flavour and texture to make your meal interesting.

 Here are my 3 favourite DIY salads:

The first 2 salads are made simply by mixing the ingredients together. Adjust quantities depending on how many servings you need.

 

Bean salad with couscous

Ingredients

  • Couscous – cooked as per packet instructions

  • Tin of mixed beans in water, drained and rinsed

  • Lemon juice

  • Sweetcorn (tinned or cooked from frozen)

  • Pepper, diced

  • Spinach leaves, washed and torn

  • Optional extra - add a tin of tuna

 

Roasted veg with hummus and bread

  • Pre-roasted vegetables e.g. aubergine, tomatoes, red onion, courgette, mushrooms, peppers

  • Optional extras: basil, olives, sun dried tomatoes, pine nuts, feta cheese

Serve with hummus and a crusty white bread such as ciabatta, baguette or sourdough

 

Quinoa with flaked almond and raisins

Ingredients:

  • Quinoa cooked according to packet instructions

  • Flaked almonds, toasted by heating gently in a non-stick pan (no oil added) until they start to brown.  Give pan a shake to ensure toasted on each side then take off heat.  Takes no more than 5 mins – keep an eye otherwise they can suddenly go from brown to burnt!

  • Raisins

  • Red onion, finely diced

  • Spices ½ tsp of each: ground cumin, ground coriander

  • Olive oil

  • Juice of half a lemon

  • Pepper to season

 Method:

  1. Heat the olive oil in a frying pan and gently fry the red onion until softened, but not browned, approx. 10 mins (add a dash of water if starting to stick)

  2. Add the spices and fry for a further 1 minute

  3. Add juice of half a lemon

  4. Add the cooked quinoa, toasted almonds and the raisins and stir everything until well combined and spice mixture covering quinoa

  5. Serve warm or cold

  6. Optional extra: add chickpeas (tinned, drained and rinsed) for added protein or grilled halloumi

 

TOP TIP: keep your dressing in a jar and take it with you separately on the picnic so that you can dress the salads just before eating. This way the salad will stay fresher for longer.

HOT FOOD TO COOK AT HOME AND PACK UP OR COOK ON THE BBQ WHEN YOU GET THERE

Tandoori chicken kebabs Jamie Oliver recipe

Vegetable kebabs https://natashaskitchen.com/grilled-moroccan-vegetable-skewers/

Bean burgers http://allrecipes.co.uk/recipe/1649/homemade-black-bean-burgers.aspx

Lamb Koftas https://www.bbcgoodfood.com/recipes/2187/lamb-koftas

Ruth Harvey